2016-04-06 / Front Page

Meng Secures Military Honors For Fore Victim

A 71-year-old man who died in an Elmhurst house fire on March 21 was buried with full military honors, thanks to the efforts of Queens lawmaker.
Martin Devereux was one of three men who perished in the blaze at the two-family home on Ithaca Street near Whitney Avenue on March 21, family members said. Devereux, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1963 to 1967, was in jeopardy of being laid to rest without military honors because documents confirming his service were destroyed in the fire, the family said.
Devereux’s outraged cousin turned to U.S. Rep. Grace Meng for help, the family said. Meng immediately contacted the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the National Personnel Records Center to confirm Devereux’s service, a Meng spokesperson said.
The Queens lawmaker was able to obtain a copy of Devereux’s military record and confirmation that he was, indeed, eligible for military rites, the spokesperson said.
Meng sent the documents to a Flushing funeral home where services for Devereux were scheduled for March 31st, where a funeral director made a formal request for a military service.
Thanks to Meng’s efforts, Devereux was laid to rest surrounded by a Navy Honor Guard, with an American flag draped over his casket, a family member said. “Each of us owes a debt of gratitude to the congresswoman.”
FDNY officials said investigators believe the two-alarm blaze was triggered by a discarded cigarette in a garage behind the house and spread to a private home next-door.
Firefighters found Devereux, Craig Lott, 53, and an unidentified man inside the home when the flames were extinguished, fire officials said. One man was found on the kitchen floor and the others were found in two bedrooms on the second floor. All three men were unconscious when firefighters pulled them from he house.
Sox firefighters were injured in the blaze, a fire spokesperson said. Four were taken to local hospitals where they were treated and released and two others refused treatment at the scene.

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